The Croatian History Museum in Zagreb keeps also in its Collection of Weapons quite a sizable group of military rifles, as well as ammunition and accessories for rifles (bayonets, tools for rifle maintenance, mechanisms).
The oldest handguns are those in the form of simple cast bronze and wrought iron barrels from the 14th and 15th centuries, with wick firing system. These were used to defend or attack fortresses. They were followed by matchlock muskets as well as muskets using percussion. Until the second half of the 19th century the hanguns were charged from the front of the barrel. It was only in the second half of the 19th century that an entire series of rifle types with rear charging were designed, with very ingenious solutions of mechanisms and with barrels made of high-quality steel. On these rifles one can well perceive the new scientific knowledge and technical discoveries spurred in Europe by the Second industrial revolution of the second half of the 19th century. At the same time the technology of manufacturing rifles and their number reflect well the major changes in the economy and political circumstances of that time.
The majority of our handguns and rifles originate from the battlefields in the areas of historical Croatian countries or from the European battlefields, where the Croatian troops were fighting, mainly for Hungary or the Habsburg crown, i.e. for the Venetian Republic or some other authority that was there at the given time.