A bayonet is shaped like a sword, knife, dagger, or spike, with the knife-like bayonet being the most common in modern combat. Bayonets have rings or sockets to fit over the barrel of the rifle without preventing it from being fired. Bayonet most likely originated in 17th century France.
- 10 inches
- 20 ounces
- Wood and steel
As early firearms had very long reload times, many of them were equipped with some kind of weapon. The Hand Cannon had a spiked handle that could be used as a weapon and the Renaissance-era Bardiche functioned as a rifle stand for muskets.
Bayonets came into use because of the slow reloading time of 17th Century firearms. Bayonet charges were more feared than volleys of musket fire, as the bayonet was more likely to cause death. As time went on and firearms became more advance the bayonet became less and less important. However it still remained important in training, and solider were still highly skilled in it use, a notable example are the British soldier during the Anglo-Zulu war, who used the bayonet so well that even the highly skilled Zulu warriors were hesitant to get close. However, with the rise of rapid-reloading firearms, bayonets became all but obsolete finally falling out of prominence during the First World War. Nevertheless, bayonet training is still part of most military training, with the bayonet being seen as a weapon of last resort.
A bayoneted AK-47 appears on the flag of the nation Mozambique.