Can You Match the Military Weapon to Its Capability?

Olivia Cantor

Do you recognize this popular weapon introduced to the U.S. armed forces in the late '60s?

The M-16 rifle, in one form or another, has been in service since 1969, especially during the Vietnam War. It initially had reliability issues, but it was accurate up to 300 meters.

How about this long-barreled specialist weapon that's based on a hunting rifle?

Sniper rifles are fitted out for long-range accuracy, with power to match. That's why many U.S. forces use sniper rifles based on the Remington Model 700, such as this M24 in the photo, and the M40 as well.

Can you identify this American cover-fire weapon based on a German design?

The M60 machine gun was one of the workhorses of the U.S. armed forces, entering service back in 1957. It could fire up to 600 rounds per minute, with an effective range of 1,200 meters.

What's this full-sized military shotgun that can blow away all the moss?

The M500-series Mossberg military shotguns have added specialty parts like bayonet attachment points. They usually are of the 12-gauge caliber, with shortened barrels and some modified stocks.

This doesn't fire bullets, and things "go boom" when it's used. Can you identify this bombastic beauty?

The M203 Grenade Launcher has been the soldier's best friend for delivering explosive payloads. It could be attached to the underside of an existing rifle to give soldiers an explosive punch option.

This was the iconic automatic handgun for generations of soldiers. What's this historic American sidearm?

The Colt 1911 and the 1911A1 models have been in service from 1911 to 1985. This .45 caliber veteran is still being used by some military units and branches. However, it's already being phased out slowly, as more modern guns continue to emerge.

It doesn't fire all at the same time; it cycles through barrels. What's this multi-barrel weapon called?

The Gatling Gun, made by Richard Gatling, had six to ten barrels in a rotary arrangement. It was hand-cranked and could fire up to 900 rounds a minute. Later models used an electric motor to spin the barrel, though.

It's a rather short tube that can fire a ton of fierce action! Can you name this tank-busting weapon?

The Light Anti-Tank Weapon, or LAW, is a 66mm-caliber tube that can fire a rocket up to 200 meters. Its portability allows soldiers to fire it, and then have the ability to move quickly to a new position.

Two to three men can carry and use the lob shells like a quarterback. What kind of ground-pounder is this?

A mortar is a small angled cannon that launches shells at an arc. In the U.S. armed forces, an M224 60mm mortar can fire up to 20 high-explosive rounds a minute, at a range of almost 4,000 yards.

It's the dreaded underwater weapon in any modern movie set in the high seas. Do you know what this aquatic weapon is called?

Torpedoes are basically aquatic missiles, and they lock into their targets using sonar or magnetic detection. The Mark 84 torpedo, for example, has periodic sensor upgrades to keep up with newer technologies and sea-going vehicles.

It can cause a fiery havoc when used. Can you tell what kind of grenade this is?

An incendiary grenade is intended to cause a huge fire, like the AN/M14. It's also known as a thermite grenade, as it releases molten iron when it explodes. It can actually explode underwater as well, and it's used more to destroy equipment.

There's no need for a pilot here! What's the generic "boring" name of this independent or remote-controlled air weapon?

An unmanned drone aircraft can do more than give a bird's eye view of the scenery. The MQ-9 Reaper, for instance, can be armed with Hellfire missiles and bombs, making them remote-controlled weapons platforms that can hover over battlefields.

It's not exactly a jet or a rocket, but it can fly low to the ground until it hits the target. What is it?

Cruise missiles are extremely accurate, large payload, long-range specialized missiles. One example of it is the BGM-109 Tomahawk, where wings and a small turbofan or jet engine are used.

When used properly, this non-lethal weapon can keep a person down for a while. What do you call this shocking weapon?

Electric shock weapons are used by the police to restrain and knock people out. But military versions of this do exist, like the M26 Taser Gun. This can be mounted under rifle barrels, too, like a grenade launcher.

It can deal damage in one direction, and it's perfect to use for a booby trap. Do you know this explosive "defense" weapon?

The M18A1 Claymore mine explodes in one direction only, and it can be triggered by using a tripwire or a manual detonator. But contrary to popular belief, though, the tripwire option is not commonly used for it.

It's a really old weapon, and was replaced in part by pistols. What do you call this non-exploding rank-specific weapon?

Swords are actually still used in the military, but they are mostly ceremonial weapons for officers only. In the U.S. military, they use the M1902 Army Officer's sword, and the Marine Officer's Mameluke sword.

If you're out of bullets, you can use this handy weapon to still keep your rifle deadly. What do you call this "added" close-combat weapon?

A bayonet is actually a dagger that can be attached to a rifle's barrel. It doubles as a handheld knife, which is an improvement over some of the earlier bayonet "spikes." With all the high-tech weaponry of today, the U.S. military forces still uses bayonets, in particular the M9 bayonet.

Before Rambo made his survival weapon famous, soldiers have been using this one both for utility and combat. Can you guess what this handheld tool and weapon is called?

Ka-Bar knives supposedly got their name from a fragmented letter penned by a hunter, who allegedly stated "kill a bear." Ka-Bar knives are being used by U.S. Marines as an effective slashing weapon.

Once this piece explodes and breaks apart, the "party" really starts! Do you know this type of grenade?

M67 grenades are known as fragmentation grenades. When they explode, they let loose a lot of metal shrapnel that can disarm hostile forces. Due to the nature of this grenade, users are trained to immediately take cover after they throw one.

It's the smaller, sometimes almost handgun-sized cousin of the big burp guns. Can you tell what type of gun this is?

Submachine guns use magazines, but they can cycle many bullets like a normal machine gun. The Heckler and Koch MP5 is a popular Hollywood stand-in, known for its short-barreled versions.

It can make people play hopscotch on the battlefield. What's the name of this ground-effect system?

Land mines can stop enemy forces from crossing a specific area. The M21 mine, for example, can actually disable a huge tank with an explosion that sends a metal plate through the undercarriage.

This cannon isn't for pounding the ground. What kind of attack-suppression weapon is this?

The Bofors L/60 40mm anti-aircraft cannon was produced in 1932, and some military units are still using them today. The L/70 improved version can fire up to 330 rounds a minute, and has a range of 12,100 meters.

This is an in-between weapon, because it's between being a portable artillery and the longer cannons. Can you identify this "curving" artillery piece?

The Howitzer is the mortar's big brother. It uses a curved trajectory and a short barrel, but it's almost as big as a "normal" cannon. The M119 Howitzer is the standard artillery piece for U.K. and U.S. military forces.

It's a famous weapon found in slasher films, and used heavily by military forces stationed in the tropics. What do you call this close-combat jungle weapon?

The machete is a short to medium-length blade which is also widely used for clearing vegetation. Armed forces in tropical countries use them as a secondary or even a primary weapon. Many militia and guerrilla units still rely on the machete as a viable weapon today.

Its span can be as tall as a person of regular height. What type of bow is this?

The longbow is a type of bow that can be as tall as a regular human being, and it was a very useful weapon for long-range attacks in ancient times. Military forces in the Middle Ages were required to have longbow archers, before the advent of gunpowder.

This one's an indirect weapon, but it's a multi-use tool that can be a weapon in a way, since it can help other weapons zero in on a target area. What is it?

M18 smoke grenades come in a variety of colors. They can be used to communicate, for setting where helicopters could land, and for designating targets as well. There's an aquatic grenade version of this, which is equipped with a flotation bladder to make it float on the water's surface.

Dumb bombs are simpler and better for mass drops. Can you guess what these "old reliable" bombs are?

The Mark 82 general purpose 500-pound bomb is used for aerial bombardment, and has been in service for decades. It has many variants for different kinds of explosive effects. It's generally compatible with most bombers and aerial vehicles.

You can refer to this as a Cold War icon, and it was named after always-ready militia forces. What's the general name for this ultimate deterrent weapon?

Intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs, are last resort military assets, since they have nuclear payloads. The LGM-30 Minutemen missiles are like the ICBM poster boys, and they supposedly have a range of more than 13,000 kilometers.

If you want to have the final say, you can do it with energetic fission. What do you call this big boss of an unguided bomb?

The B83 nuclear bomb is the most powerful nuclear bomb in the U.S. inventory, after more powerful weapons were banned by international treaties. Rated at 1.2 megatons, it's no surprise that movies love using them as an example of a nuclear weapon.

This one is like military-grade fireworks and concert display rolled into one. Can you name this truly bombastic grenade?

Flash grenades, also called flash bang grenades, are very loud and very bright, stunning anyone near them. The M84 grenade, for example, impressively pumps out 170 decibels and six million candelas, easy.

This one uses the first element that humans supposedly mastered. Familiar with this area attack infantry weapon?

Flamethrowers are used to make opposing soldiers vacate positions, and to destroy equipment or inventory. The M2 line of flamethrowers has been in use since 1943, and can throw flames as far as 40 meters away.

Some weapons take advantage of your nose; if it isn't windy, you can use this. What is this kind of grenade?

M6 or M7 gas grenades are used by military forces to knock out enemy personnel without using excessive force. They sometimes use CS gas, which causes tears to flow, some coughing to happen, and even vomiting.

It transferred the pull action of a bow to a mechanical system. What is this hybrid ranged weapon?

Crossbows are a mechanical version of short bows, with a mechanism keeping the string pulled back until released. Crossbows were used in history by military forces, with little training required.

Some bombs can drop different kinds of payloads. What hellish fiery substance can this bomb drop on an enemy?

The unforgettable "Apocalypse Now" movie line said "I love the smell of napalm in the morning," which referred to the Mark 47 series of bombs that released chemical agents like napalm. They were heavily used during the Vietnam War era.

Some explosives can be molded into different shapes. What's the "nickname" for C-4 explosives?

Composition C-4 explosives use a plasticizer material which makes it moldable, appearing almost like silly putty. It's very useful in making shaped charges, which can be used to breach fortified structures.

In a war, a soldier's gear should also be flexible to use as secondary weapons, like this one; it can dig ditches and inflict bodily harm if needed. What is it?

Military entrenching tools may be for digging, but they are recognized as weapons, too. In fact, the M-1943 tool's folding "spike" makes it an effective hand-to-hand weapon as well. Some military forces around the world train their soldiers on how to properly use entrenching equipment as weapons.

Before gunpowder was invented, many weapons relied on tension for power, like this one. What do you call this "throwing" weapon?

Catapults use counterweights or heavy elastics to throw large objects at defensive structures. Ammunition that can be used here could be rocks, flaming materials, or even big, dead animals. Whatever works!

It's a multi-chamber single-barrel weapon. What's this reliable but complicated gun called?

Military revolvers do exist, like the S&W Model 15 which uses .38 Special cartridges. Revolvers can be fired after long storage, and have better hand grips. They don't hold as many rounds as automatics, but can be more reliable.

This kiddie toy of modern times actually traces its origin as an ancient military weapon. What is it?

The humble sling weapon was indeed a military weapon of ancient armies. Ancient Greeks used lead bullets with it, delivering percussive damage to armored enemies. Other ammunition types include those made of clay, and bullets with holes drilled in them to make them whistle.

It could also be good for jousting, but what's the name of this extended ground combat weapon?

Spears and their many variants have been an integral part of any military inventory, before gunpowder changed the face of warfare. Spears extend the attack range of ground troops, and they can form barriers against charging troops and horses.

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About This Quiz

Humans are actually great inventors and innovators. From the moment we were made aware that we can use tools to practice certain trades, we also discovered that we can invent tools that can ease our daily life existence. That's very obvious if you look at how early humans developed specific tools for specific needs, like if they're for hunting or writing. From tree branches to rocks, anything could potentially become a tool or a weapon in the hands of humans.

This penchant for rediscovering and reinventing things will not really die down with humans. For as long as there is a need, newer equipment and weapons will always be invented. That's why former tools became handy weapons, while there are some weapons that devolved into becoming mere tools, or even toys. Familiar with the yo-yo? That was actually a weapon of early indigenous peoples in Asia. The same is true of the aborigines' boomerang in Australia.

These days, weapons could be more complicated than those simple tools of yore. There are many mechanical, electrical, chemical, and even nuclear weapons in our midst now. Can you name some of them? Open up this quiz and see them all!

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